Just because grandma and granddad are coming for a visit doesn’t mean you have to rocking-chair the day away. There are dozens of places to check out that appeal to multi-generational family members. Here are five Nana and Papa-approved spots to check out.

15716692900_4017302f78_zPhoto: John Collins via Flickr

Mt. Vernon Estate
While there’s a ton of fun to be had at this historical site, it’s set at a pace that’s just right for grands and kids alike. You’ll be able to stroll around the grounds looking out over the Potomac River, visit farm animals and outbuildings; rest your feet with a wagon ride, fill up on roasted apples and listen to music from early America. Have an Ansel Adams in your group? This is the place to set up the tripod or just snap a few photos of the season so that made memories won’t be forgotten.

3200 Mount Vernon Hwy. (Alexandria, Va)
Online:  mountvernon.org

National Museum of African American History and Culture
The stunning building, inspired by Yoruba art and filigree ironwork, is filled with presentations and artifacts that give visitors a glimpse at all aspects–the good and the gut-wrenching–of the African American experience. It’s a must-visit for the entire family, and one that deserves return visits. Get more info on specific exhibits here.


1400 Constitution Ave., NW (National Mall)
Online: nmaahc.si.edu

The Butterfly Pavillion
Imagine being instantly surrounded by free-flying butterflies and exotic plants in shapes, sizes and colors you rarely see on your city block. That’s what happens when you visit the Butterfly Pavilion at the Museum of Natural History. The pavilion is open daily, but you can save the grands some money by going on a Tuesday when the exhibit is free. Online reservations are suggested.

1000 Constitution Ave., NW (Smithsonian)
Online: butterflies.si.edu

Matchbox Vintage Pizza Bistro
If your child loves pizza (and who doesn’t?), then Matchbox’s artisanal, brick-oven pizza is for you. They offer a variety of traditional and satisfying American fare, but it’s the pizza that really shines. Matchbox’s pizza ranges from simple cheese and pepperoni to prosciutto and chicken pesto.

Multiple locations in the DMV
Online: matchboxrestaurants.com

National Gallery of Art
New York, Paris, Munich, and Istanbul all boast magical modern art museums. Lucky for us, with the newly reopened East Building, D.C. also goes on the list as having another(!!) incredible place to view modern art. From Picasso to Matisse, de Toulouse-Lautrec to Calder, Pollock to Bearden, modern artists abound across the East Building. With original Disney posters, adult sized mobiles, and the biggest blue Rooster you’ve ever seen, there’s something for every artsy grandparent (and little one) in your crew.

Constitution Ave. between 3rd and 9th Sts. (National Mall)
Online: nga.gov

Where do you like to take out-of-town grandparents when they visit D.C.? Tell us in the comments below. 

–Ayren Jackson-Cannady